Gallus claims quality and cost USPs with new digital label line

Jo Francis
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

??Gallus has described its new Digital Converting System for label production as having "game changing" capabilities compared with rival inkjet label presses.

?The DCS 340 hybrid conventional/inkjet press was shown running live for the first time at the Gallus Innovation Days customer event at its Swiss HQ this week. The event was set to be attended by more than 600 customers from around the world.?

It marries technology from Gallus, Fujifilm and Gallus owner Heidelberg and has involved a rapid product development cycle. The concept was first revealed in April.?

"To come up with such a product in less than 12 months is something I wouldn't have deemed possible," said Heidelberg chief executive Gerold Linzbach.?

"Steve Jobs talked about creating products so sexy people want to kiss them. I'm not sure if anyone wants to kiss a printing press but we came close with this machine."?

The DCS 340 has a web width of 340mm. A drop-on-demand inkjet module sits at the centre of a conventional label press printing and converting line based on the Gallus ECS 340.?

The line has a pre-treatment/corona station, two flexo units before the inkjet module, a further flexo varnish unit after it, a rotary die-cutter and slitting device and rewind.

Up to 64 Fujifilm Dimatix UV printheads are deployed in the inkjet module, which prints using an extended gamut of seven colours (CMYK plus orange, violet and green) plus white ink at a native resolution of 1,200dpi.

Print speed is currently 50m/min, although this could increase in the future.

?Stefan Heiniger, chief operating officer of the Gallus label business, said the firm had asked its customers what they wanted from a digital label press.

?"Our customers want a production tool with high availability and output. With the DCS 340 we believe we can offer a serious alternative to any digital label system on the market today and in the near future," he stated.

?"In the past there was always some difference in the performance of conventional and digital. With this we have print quality equal to offset and speed that's not slowing down the press."

?Gallus said it was addressing a growing market, and that it had many existing customers who wanted to move into digital production with an industrial-scale solution.

?The firm also claimed the press offered the lowest cost per label due to its ability to print onto standard substrates and minimise waste.

?"High resolution, UV inkjet can print on a big variety of substrates without pre-coating, and that wasn't the case in the past," Heiniger added.

?The DCS 340 will cost circa €1.4m-€1.5m (£1m-£1.2m). Ink will be charged for based on usage and there will not be a click charge model.

?The press is targeted at short-to-medium run lengths above 500m of substrate. It is driven by a new version of Heidelberg's Prinect workflow system.

?The DCS 340 is set to enter field trials in the first quarter of 2015, ahead of an official launch at Labelexpo Europe this time next year.

?Heidelberg declined to name the ink manufacturer but said it was working with a number of ink companies.?Separately, Heidelberg and Fujifilm are at a crucial stage in the development of a sheetfed inkjet press, with a decision on the base technology to be finalised in the next six-to-eight weeks.?

Heidelberg senior vice president of digital print Jason Oliver said: "It is not as straightforward as saying let's mount an inkjet head on a Speedmaster. We are in the design phase which involves fundamental decisions about sheet handling and drying, and we have all kinds of creative thinkers working on this."

?He said the partnership with Fujifilm had "exceeded expectations so far."

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